Reading the Church Fathers discussion

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Gregory of Nyssa: Life of Moses > Mar. 28: Par.11-20

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message 1: by Nemo (last edited Mar 28, 2018 08:48PM) (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1400 comments Beacon of Life

11. ... Consider Abraham your father, and Sarah who gave you birth. Scripture gives this admonition to those who wander outside virtue. Just as at sea those who are carried away from the direction of the harbor bring themselves back on course by a clear sign, upon seeing either a beacon light raised up high or some mountain peak coming into view, in the same way Scripture by the example of Abraham and Sarah may guide again to the harbor of the divine will those adrift on the sea of life with a pilotless mind.

13. Perhaps, then, the memory of anyone distinguished in life would be enough to fill our need for a beacon light and to show us how we can bring our soul to the sheltered harbor of virtue where it no longer has to pass the winter amid the storms of life or be shipwrecked in the deep water of evil by the successive billows of passion.


The second paragraph reminds me of a friend who passed away 4 weeks ago. Her life was indeed a beacon light to many.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
--Albert Schweitzer



message 2: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 415 comments Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend who was such a light to many.

And that is a beautiful quote by Albert Schweitzer about those who have lighted the flame within us. It is wonderful that we people can do such things for each other.


message 3: by Ruth (new)

Ruth | 415 comments §19 Having been rebuffed by the one on the wrong, he made his rejection the occasion for a greater philosophy. Separating himself from the association with the people, he thereafter lived alone.

Does he mean here that living alone is better than being among people?


message 4: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1400 comments Ruth wrote: "§19 Having been rebuffed by the one on the wrong, he made his rejection the occasion for a greater philosophy. Separating himself from the association with the people, he thereafter lived alone.

..."


Living alone is better for philosophy, i.e., ascetic life, according to the footnote.

Here, both Philo and Gregory seem to me to gloss over the fact that Moses killed the Egyptian unjustly.


message 5: by Rex (new)

Rex | 15 comments Gregory also used the ship on a stormy sea metaphor in an earlier work, On Virginity. It captured my imagination when I read it, though his recommendation then was to find an elder to guide you in the faith, which is not the easiest task nowadays. That Gregory is turning here to the life of Moses (though not the "bare history") for guidance is interesting.


message 6: by Nemo (new)

Nemo (nemoslibrary) | 1400 comments
20. ... At high noon a light brighter than the sunlight dazzled his eyes. Astonished at the strange sight, he looked up at the mountain and saw a bush from which this light was flaming up like a fire. ... The light's grace was distributed to both senses, illuminating the sight with flashing rays and lighting the way for the hearing with undefiled teachings.


This passage about the Divine illuminating both sight and hearing is interesting on many levels.

First, it makes me wonder if Gregory was familiar with synesthesia. Second, it reminds me of Lady Galadriel in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, who can communicate telepathically with many people at the same time.

Thirdly, it introduces a new way of thinking about the passages in the New Testament where God speaks audibly to people in the same place and at the same time, but each of the people present receives a slightly different message or impression from the encounter.


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